Fred Savage, the executive producer and director of the Wonder Years reboot who played the lead role in the 1988 original, was fired from the reboot in May following allegations of misconduct on the set of the show, a 20th Television rep confirmed at the time. Savage was previously accused of misconduct on the set of the original Wonder Years in 1993 and Fox’s The Grinder, which ran from 2015 to 2018. On August 9, new details emerged about the misconduct allegations, with multiple female crew members telling The Hollywood Reporter that Savage’s alleged “erratic” behavior and proximity to a young woman on set led six women on the crew to report Savage to HR, which resulted in a swift investigation. “To their credit, I was contacted within hours,” one woman tells THR. “An investigation started immediately and he was barred from set.”
Beyond Savage’s alleged multiple personas (higher-ups “all see his absolute perfect, best face,” while “below-the-line employees who don’t have any power” see something different), multiple crew members say the interactions with a young female crew member made them uneasy. Sources claim that Savage was “extremely controlling of her daily behaviors” and “manipulative and erratic” toward the woman. After one crew member attempted to intervene, she says Savage “proceeded to verbally harass me and belittle me.” She tells the publication that she found Savage “scary” and that his “eyes would go dead” during the alleged verbal harassment, but then “he flips a switch and he’s Fred Savage.” The crew members claim that the young woman’s personality changed after she grew close to Savage. Other sources allege that she moved into his Cabbagetown, Atlanta, rental home during filming in the area. The young woman declined to speak with THR.
Another woman working on the reboot made a separate accusation against the ousted director-producer. She says she befriended Savage during her time working on The Wonder Years and sometimes went to dinner with him. Though she declined his expensive gifts, the two remained “platonic” friends. During a December 2021 group dinner at 97 Estoria, a bar near set, she went to the bathroom. Savage allegedly walked into the bathroom after she exited the stall. “I started laughing, like, ‘What are you doing? This is a women’s bathroom,’” she recalled. The source said Savage approached her. “I said, ‘Please, don’t do this.’ I meant ruining the friendship,” she told the magazine. “I was pleading, not from fear so much, but this was no going back.” Allegedly, Savage “put his mouth on mine very forcefully. He went for the top of my pants. I brushed him away. Then he put his mouth on mine again, grabbed my hand and pulled it on his groin area. I was pulling back. He stopped very angrily. I shoulder checked him so I could get out.” Following the alleged incident, the woman says she was “scared of him for the first time.”
Savage attempted to contact her after the incident. In a voice-mail shared with THR, he apologized to the woman. “It’s your old friend Fred,” he said. “We worked together for a while and then we didn’t and then I was a huge asshole. A huge asshole. And I’m really sorry. And I’ve kind of owed you an apology for a minute here and so, uh, the truth is I really like you and I really want to be friends and I’m so sorry that I fucked that up.”
Savage responded to the misconduct allegations in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “It is devastating to learn that there are co-workers who feel I have fallen short of these goals. While there are some incidents being reported that absolutely did not and could not have happened, any one person who feels hurt or offended by my actions is one person too many,” he tells the publication. Vulture has reached out to Savage’s reps for comment.
An earlier version of this piece mistakenly referred to the bar 97 Estoria as a bar in Astoria. 97 Estoria is a bar in the Atlanta neighborhood near the set of The Wonder Years.